Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
This Wednesday Wellness post has such power and incredible emotion embedded within it. This week we’re talking about mental health, coping, and our ability to rise. Our lives are paved with battles past and those unforeseen. While some of those struggles may be fully visible to those around us, like a death in the family or a severe illness like cancer or multiple sclerosis – many of our battles are invisible and silent making them all the more potent and debilitating.
Living with a mental illness or even disregarding your own mental health is like carrying a loaded weapon. I suffer from major depression which in the past few months has become an unwelcome visitor in my daily life. The word major really doesn’t even seem to cover it sometimes. Words like exhausting, smothering, crippling – seem a little more relevant when it comes to describing a disease capable of overpowering your entire state of being.
My depression began as a teenager, heavily seeded in a raging eating disorder that stemmed from ballet. I obsessed over ballet the moment I was old enough to walk (seriously) but once puberty struck so did the negative backlash from my instructors. Weight was something we were constantly criticized on, even when you were stick thin as it was. Seeing girls throw up their food was as common as leotards and leg warmers for me, so naturally I thought nothing of it. As I grew older, my eating disorder stayed with me – showing itself in times of extreme stress.
It’s strange how hormones and body chemicals like to function (or not function) – I cannot begin to name my endless blessings and opportunities and you’re probably thinking, what the heck does she have to be depressed about? But that’s the thing – invisible/ personal battles. When times got really low and I found myself crying in uncontrollable fits almost every day, I decided it was time to visit the doc and find a therapist. Both have monumentally helped me find my way back to the person I recognized as happy go lucky and fun loving. Depression, according to my therapist, is like a warm blanket that wants to suffocate you. It’s so comfortable and easy to settle and wallow in – but can swaddle your face when you’re not looking and smother you entirely.
Each and every day I make the decision to move forward and delight in the day I’ve woken to, but each day is a choice. I’ve shared my “stuff” with you all in hopes that you know it’s okay to have “stuff” too. I’ve stated before I believe in being transparent and human with you all, which is why i’m sharing these delicate and personal battles of my own. Mental health has become such a passion of mine, especially after losing my young cousin to suicide/PTSD this past November.
No matter what your struggles are, no matter what your “stuff” is, I hope you choose to rise. Rise above the ugly, the bitterness, the awful and embrace the lovely that exists.
Now .. onto the exciting news. All of the shirts that i’m wearing are for sale y’all! I have partnered with the incredible ladies at Proven Collection to create my own line of shirts that mean everything I have just poured out to you all. They’re available in sizes small through XL.
You can shop the pink tee here.
Shop the white open back tee here.
Shop the black side slit tank here.
Photos by Megan Weaver